Richard Moore, an avid outdoorsman, vanished this past August while hiking with his dog on Blackhead Peak, a 12,500-foot mountain in Colorado. Miraculously Finney, his Jack Russell Terrier, survived and was rescued 72 days later. For Outside, Frederick Dreier tries to figure out what happened.
The sheriff’s office has yet to publish an official cause of death, but rescuers told Holby that Moore had likely died of hypothermia and exposure. He was lost, stranded on a steep ridge on the eastern side of the peak, far from the trail. He had smashed his glasses and probably could not see where he was going. His body was about 500 yards from the farthest boundary of the search.
Holby has a final theory of how her dog made it through the ordeal, one that she thinks about on lonely afternoons. From her living room in Pagosa Springs, Holby can look out her windows and across the valley to the east and see the scraggly profile of Blackhead Peak rising in the distance.
“I keep feeling as though she was sent to me by Rich,” Holby says, “Who probably told her to go home and take care of me.”